Sophomores Ian Kline, Jared Littlejohn, Jun Choi, Matt Goodrich, Ollie Klingenstein and Omar Sohail have all been selected to compete in the third-annual Polar Bear Pageant, Bowdoin’s premier male talent contest, in Kresge Auditorium on Saturday. The winner will be crowned Mr. Polar Bear. 

This event started three years ago when Melody Hahm ’13 promised to produce the pageant as part of her successful bid for sophomore class president. The sophomore class council has planned the event ever since. 

Current sophomore class president John Izzo ’15 believes the pageant is a fun way to foster class unity. 

“It’s one of the few big events that’s really class-specific,” he explained.

The format takes after traditional beauty pageants. The night will begin with the contestants introducing themselves with a female escort of their choosing by their side. A group dance, choreographed by Jacqueline Sullivan ’15 and Danae Hirsch ’14, will follow. Next, contestants will showcase various talents. 

“Anything goes,” said Izzo, “as long as it’s appropriate.” Past years have seen everything from musical performances to stripteases. 

“I still haven’t decided which of my talents to display,” said Littlejohn.
Choi kept mum on which talent he had chosen, but expressed confidence that it would, “wow and dazzle.” 

Contestants will be asked a series of personalized questions by a panel of four judges, some of whom have yet to be selected. Izzo suggested that Norma, a dining service celebrity, could be one of them. Afterwards, the contestants will step off stage and allow the judges several minutes to deliberate. 

“There are really no set criteria for judging,” said Izzo. “The judges pick whoever most appeals to them, for whatever reason.”

When a winner has been decided, the contestants will return and Mr. Polar Bear will be crowned.

The candidates were chosen through an open nomination process where all sophomores had the chance to nominate their male classmates. Since the number of nominees greatly exceeded the established set of six, the sophomore class council decided based on number of votes cast per candidate, the candidate’s expressed interests, and the student’s social background.

“We really tried to ensure that a wide spread of cliques and social circles were represented,” said Izzo. 

The selection of female escorts is apparently a source of comedy, and possibly drama. 

“I have a person in mind, and she expects me to ask her publically, with flowers and everything,” confided Jun Choi ’15.

The week before the pageant has been filled with a healthy dose of friendly competition. 

“My favorite part so far has been the trash talking,” explained Jared Littlejohn ’15. 
Choi returned fire. 

“Jared Littlejohn has no chance,” he said. “People think he’s a frontrunner, but he has no chance. The others aren’t even worth talking about.” 

Sohail agreed with Choi. 

“So far, Jared Littlejohn is bringing the heat, letting us know that he has two watches on: one for the time and one to count down till his victory,” he said. 

“I don’t know if Matt Goodrich is focused; it seems he’s too focused on divestment instead,” Sohail added.

Asher Stamell ’13, who won the inaugural competition in 2010 and served as judge last year, said the event is always an interesting time. 

“Anytime you throw eight personalities in the same room, you’re in for a good time.  But when you add choreography, things get real weird real fast,” he said.

“I’m still great friends with all of the guys,” he added.